The Nipmuc Language is not dead

As has been referenced on this blog previously, I am an avid listener and unabashed promoter of the NPR program All Things Considered. It has “opened my eyes” more than once, and now again. The very title of the program says it all. Communicators, and those who strive to be communicators,  need to be open to learn and explore because expanding  horizons and awareness broadens our understanding of the world at large and this provides the kind of perspective that facilitates the communicator’s role as a transmitter of knowledge, information, and ideas, and All Things Considered  exposes the listener to many “things” we would never “consider” at “all”. But I digress.

So, If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? This is a philosophical query, and it applies aptly to the question of the demise of a language, in this case a Native American language spoken by the Nipmuc people , the subject of the All Things Considered segment I found so engaging.

Today, fewer than 10 people speak it. David White, a member of the tribe, swore to a dying elder that he would teach Nipmuc to ensure it was perpetuated. He has been steadfast in his commitment. There are many lessons to be learned from “White’s last stand” which impact matters that matter from a communications standpoint, but for the purpose of this post, I simply want to emphasize the core concept exemplified by his efforts, which is that language, any language, is precious and needs to be treated with the utmost respect, and saved for posterity if at all possible. Afterall, a culture is kept alive through its use of language.

NPR has aired David White’s story in conjunction with the PBS television series We Shall Remain which premiers today. This five part series asserts that Native American history must be seen as an essential part of American history.

For the full transcript of the NPR segment and more information about the PBS series We Shall Remain go to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103028551

https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/04/13/the-nipmuc-language-is-not-dead/

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